Robet J. Connell – Commander, United States Navy

From a contemporary press report

Retired U.S. Navy Commander Robert J. Connell, a former schoolteacher, died December 9, 1999, in a local hospital.

He was born in New Jersey Nov. 29, 1906, and resided in Portsmouth, Virginia, for the past 50 years.

He was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy for 29 years. He was a veteran of World War II and the Korean Conflict. He was the last commanding officer of the old battleship New York, participating in the atomic bomb tests at Bikini in 1946. He also taught naval ROTC at Duke University for two years. His naval career was followed by many years of teaching at both public and private high schools. He retired from teaching at Frederick Military Academy in 1985 at the age of 79. He was a member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association and the local chapter; the Retired Officers Association; PACTROA (local chapter); and the Fleet Reserve Association. He was a member of Western Branch Baptist Church, Portsmouth.

He is survived by his wife, Juanita; three children, John, Ann and Catherine; a daughter-in-law, Malinda; and two sons-in-law, Charles and Larry; three grandchildren, Jennifer, Michael and Matthew; a sister; and two brothers living in New Jersey. He was predeceased by his son David who died in 1968.

A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. today at Snellings Funeral Home, Churchland Chapel, by the Rev. George Mullinax. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

Memorial donations may be made to the Western Branch Baptist Church, 4710 High St., Portsmouth, VA 23703.

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